May 06, 2021

Shaw Local News Network wins 92 awards in Illinois Press Association Contest

The newspapers and websites of Shaw Media Illinois have received 92 awards in the Illinois Press Association’s contest, honoring work from 2020. That includes 21 first-place honors across categories.

The full awards lists, along with sweepstakes and general excellence awards, will be announced Friday, May 7, during the IPA Best of the Press Awards, which will be held during the IPA/IPF Virtual Convention from May 5-7.

“We are honored to be recognized for our work, from investigative reporting to features to photography, sports writing and editing. Our staff works hard to cover our communities and we are proud of the results,” said Dennis Anderson, vice president for news and content development for Shaw Media.

Leading the way for Shaw was the Daily Chronicle, in DeKalb, which received 22 awards total, with six first-place finishes, and taking first through third place for the Freedom of Information category. Daily Chronicle Photo Editor Mark Busch received seven awards.


The Midweek in DeKalb and Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake won 12 awards each. Midweek reporter Katrina Milton won 12 awards and Northwest Herald Photo Editor Matthew Apgar won five awards.

The Shaw Local News Network Editorial Board won two awards for editorials on IHSA protestors and saving the Exelon nuclear plants.

The Record Newspapers in Kendall County received nine awards, Kane County Chronicle won eight awards, with photographer Sandy Bressner winning eight awards.

The NewsTribune in La Salle won seven awards, Joliet Herald-News captured five awards - reporter Bob Okon earned two first-place wins, Sauk Valley Media, Ogle County Newspapers and Suburban Life Media had four awards each, Bureau County Republican earned three and The Times in Ottawa with two.

Division E

Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake (12 awards)

2nd Place, Local editorial: Shaw Media Local News Network Editorial Board: IHSA protestors have our attention, but what’s the plan?

3rd Place, Local editorial: Shaw Media Local News Network Editorial Board: A solution to save Exelon plants not impossible

1st Place: News Reporting Series: Katie Smith, Amanda Marrazzo, Cassie Buchman: Fallout from the murder of 5-year-old AJ Freund

2nd Place: News Reporting Series: Amanda Marrazzo: Burrito Express Murder

1st Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Cassie Buchman, Drew Zimmerman: ‘Emotional, devastating:’ Former Bowes employees, FightBack patients discuss closures, layoffs

4th Place: Original Column: Jon Styf

2nd Place: Photo Series: Matthew Apgar: Essential Workers: The new front line

2nd Place: General News Photo: Matthew Apgar: Black Lives Matter rally in Fox River Grove

4th Place: General News Photo: Matthew Apgar: Mark Amore dedication

1st Place: Feature Photo: Matthew Apgar: Fishing at sunrise

4th Place: Feature Photo: Matthew Apgar: Waiting for a trim

4th Place: Sports Section: Staff

Joliet Herald-News (5 awards)

4th Place: Localized National Story: Alex Ortiz: Democratic party asks Will County Board candidate to quit after groping allegation

1st Place: Freedom of Information Award: Bob Okon: Joliet Slammers’ secret stadium naming rights agreement

1st Place: Government Beat Reporting: Bob Okon: City of Joliet beat reporting

4th Place: Feature Writing: Felix Sarver: Bank robber had ‘rock career’ plans

2nd Place: Original Column: Bill Wimbiscus

La Salle NewsTribune: (7 awards)

3rd Place: News Reporting Series: Jayce Eustice: Wally makes waves

4th Place: News Reporting Series: Staff: La Salle Veterans Home COVID-19 outbreak

4th Place: Government Beat Reporting: Tom Collins: Tracking the Peru Mall’s future

2nd Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Tom Collins: ‘I’ve never seen it this busy’

2nd Place: Feature Photo: Scott Anderson: Drive-thru graduation

3rd Place: Feature Photo: Tom Sistak: Social distanced diplomas

3rd Place: Sports Photo-Portrait/Personality: Scott Anderson: Female swimmer of the year

The Times, Ottawa (2 awards)

4th Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Brent Bader: Eagle 6 hopes idea takes off

3rd Place: Sports Section: JT Pedelty, Charlie Ellerbrock, Brian Hoxsey

Division D

DeKalb Daily Chronicle (22 awards)

4th Place: Community Service: Kelsey Rettke, Eddie Carifio: COVID-19 data series with local public health officials

3rd Place: News Reporting Series: Kelsey Rettke, Eric Olson: Ohio man charged with murder in brutal double homicide of Sycamore mother, son

1st Place: Freedom of Information Award: Kelsey Rettke, Katie Finlon: Sycamore water woes, lead levels, city denial lead to class action lawsuit

2nd Place: Freedom of Information Award: Eddie Carifio, Kelsey Rettke: Local long-term care facilities battles COVID-19 outbreaks

3rd Place: Freedom of Information Award: Eddie Carifio: Health Department releases list of local businesses violating indoor dining ban

2nd Place: Government Beat Reporting: Kelsey Rettke, Katie Finlon: Sycamore water woes: lead levels, city denials lead to class action lawsuit

4th Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Eddie Carifio: ‘Completely unexpected”: Pawn shops seeing surprising results during stay-at-home order

1st Place: Feature Writing: Kelsey Rettke: Homelessness on the rise in DeKalb County public schools

4th Place: Original Column: Kelsey Rettke: To Barry Schrader, for passing the baton

2nd Place: Photo Series: Mark Busch: Consequences after fatal DUI devastates two families

4th Place: Photo Series: Mark Busch: Local basketball teams battle on the court during First National Challenge

3rd Place: General News Photo: Mark Busch: Victim’s father attends trial

4th Place: General News Photo: Mark Busch: Black Lives Matter Group protests police brutality

2nd Place: Portrait/Personality: Mark Busch: Black Lives Matter protestor portrait

4th Place: Portrait/Personality: Mark Busch: Black leaders spark conversation

1st Place: Sports Photo: Mark Busch: Touchdown dive

4th Place: Single Page Design: Inger Koch: Shining Bright

1st Place: Sports Section: Staff

1st Place: Sports News: Kaleb Carter: Three DeKalb wrestlers take second for record-setting Barbs

2nd Place: Sports Photo-Portrait/Personality: Mark Busch: Girls bowling player of the year

4th Place: Sports Photo-Portrait/Personality: Mark Busch: Girls tennis player of the year

1st Place: Public Notice Journalism Award: Katie Finlon: Hunter Properties contests Special Service Area proposal

Sauk Valley Media (4 awards)

1st Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Brian Weidman: Gone fishin’ for good

4th Place: Obituary Tribute: Brian Weidman: Sauk Valley basketball community mourns loss of referee

4th Place: Sports Photo: Alex Paschal: Oh Deer

1st Place: Sports Photo-Portrait/Personality: Alex Paschal: Making a splash

Division C

The Midweek, DeKalb: (12 awards)

2nd Place: Feature Writing: Katrina Milton: Kickin’ it old school: Malta pizzeria to offer food, fun and pop culture nostalgia

4th Place: Feature Writing: Katrina Milton: Victory Lap: Boy’s end of cancer treatments celebrated with surprise drive-by parade

2nd Place: Feature Writing-Personality Profile: Katrina Milton: Cherished Memories: DeKalb author shares story of her father’s World War II experiences

3rd Place: Feature: Katrina Milton: Healing Power: DeKalb veteran uses music to help people struggling with PTSD

2nd Place: General News Photo: Katrina Milton: Staying Connected

4th Place: General News Photo: Katrina Milton: Parade of Power

1st Place: Feature Photo: Katrina Milton: Bundles of Joy

2nd Place: Feature Photo: Katrina Milton: Polarpalooza

3rd Place: Feature Photo: Katrina Milton: Valentine’s Day

1st Place: Portrait/Personality: Katrina Milton: The Holbrooks

2nd Place: Portrait/Personality: Katrina Milton: Lynden Bute

3rd Place: Portrait/Personality: Katrina Milton: Barn Quilt

Division B

Kane County Chronicle: (8 awards)

2nd Place: News Reporting Series: Brenda Schory: Abandoned dog finds new home

4th Place: Localized National Story: Eric Schelkopf: Protesters march down Route 38

4th Place: Spot News Photo: Eric Schelkopf: Aurora on fire after protests

2nd Place: General News Photo: Sandy Bressner: Seniors helping seniors

3rd Place: Feature Photo: Sandy Bressner: Sunny grad

3rd Place: Portrait/Personality: Sandy Bressner: Empty Churches

2nd Place: Online Photo Series/Gallery: Sandy Bressner: Seniors helping seniors

4th Place: Online Photo Series/Gallery: Sandy Bressner: Essential

Division A

Bureau County Republican: (3 awards)

1st Place: Sports Section: Kevin Hieronymus

4th Place: Sports News: Kevin Hieronymus: A toast of champaign

1st Place: Sports Column: Kevin Hieronymus

The Record Newspapers, Kendall County (9 awards)

1st Place: News Reporting-Single Story: Lucas Robinson: Kendall County jobless numbers show improvement

3rd Place: Freedom of Information Award: Katie Finlon: Yorkville 115 notified families of several COVID-19 cases in schools since Aug. 20, per FOIA docs

3rd Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Lucas Robinson: ‘It’s still a shock’: Restaurant, bar owners react to new restrictions

3rd Place: Online Photo Series/Gallery: Shea Lazansky: Gallery: Drive in to the future

2nd Place: Maurice Scott Award for Best Coverage of Taxation: Katie Finlon: Kendall County Board Oks property tax late fee, interest relief for residents

4th Place: Feature Writing-Personality Profile: Shea Lazansky: ‘My life belongs to this community’

2nd Place: Knight Chair Award for Best Investigative/enterprise reporting: Katie Finlon: Death of Kerrigan Rutherford, 6-year-old girl from Boulder Hill

2nd Place: General News Photo: Shea Lazansky: Enoch Scull turns 96

1st Place: Online Photo Series/Gallery: Shea Lazansky: Over 200 join Black Lives Matter rally in Sandwich

Suburban Life (4 awards)

3rd Place: Feature Photo: Sandy Bressner: Mom’s birthday

2nd Place: Feature Photo: Sandy Bressner: Lovebirds

3rd Place: Sports Photo: Sandy Bressner: Disappointment

1st Place: Sports News: Josh Welge: Super feeling: Montini is headed back to state

Ogle County Newspapers: (4 awards)

2nd Place: Reporting-Single Story: Earleen Hinton: Ogle County Tornado

1st Place: News Reporting-Series: Jeff Helfrich, Earleen Hinton: Storm hits Forreston

2nd Place: News Reporting-Series: Jeff Helfrich: Jay’s Drive-in adjusts, thrives despite COVID-19 mitigations

4th Place: Business/Economic Reporting: Jeff Helfrich: COVID-19 impact on farms, businesses